We’re here to conduct robust scientific research that generates new knowledge, provides solutions to real problems, and makes our world a more habitable place for future generations. As the saying goes, “we take our work seriously — ourselves, less so.”
We work hard and work smart for each other, our partners and our customers. We test our ideas early and often with real users and we sacrifice our comfort regularly to ask hard questions and have honest conversations.
We recognise that genuine innovation comes from thinking and acting differently from the status quo. It’s certainly not easy finding new ways to solve problems – which is why we spend time investing in our team.
Prior to Xerra, Steve was the CEO of the GÉANT Association, overseeing both operating companies in Amsterdam and Cambridge. GÉANT runs the pan-European high-performance R&E network serving more than 50 million users from 41 countries. Before joining GÉANT, he was the CEO of REANNZ, the New Zealand R&E network.
He joined REANNZ from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) in 2011. As the head of ESnet, he was responsible for providing high-performance networking to thousands of researchers and scientists at more than 40 national laboratories and research institutions.
Prior to ESnet, he served as Google’s network deployment manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Before being hired by Google, Steve worked for Internet2, the R&E network in the U.S. as Deputy Operations Officer and was CEO and President of their wholly owned subsidiary, FiberCo.
Steve got his start in telecommunications and networking at SBC Global Communications (now AT&T), serving as a Director in network engineering and construction departments, and also in optical networking as an engineer and program manager at Cisco Systems. He served eight years as an Officer and helicopter pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. Steve attended the U.S. Naval Academy, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. Steve also earned an MBA from Boston University.
Steve moved to Alexandra in August 2017, after accepting the role at Xerra.
For the past six years, Emma co-owned a retail business in Alexandra. During this time, she also worked part-time for over three years as personal assistant to Dr Greg Bodeker. Greg’s company, Bodeker Scientific, was the lead agency in the successful funding application that led to the formation of Xerra (Formerly CSST).
Prior to this, Emma worked for a number of years as an occupational therapist within the health and education sectors in New Zealand.
Her past roles have given her a foray into land conservation at one of the United States’s first conservation organisations (est 1901), high-performance networking (serving the specific needs of New Zealand’s research, innovation and education communities), the world of TEDx and ‘ideas worth spreading’, and developing online communities for emergency response and recovery in the humanitarian sector.
She sits on the Board of Directors for the Wellington Branch of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and is the Event Director for ActInSpace NZ, an event that supports young Kiwis to re-imagine existing space technology and find new applications for space-based data.
Kelsi lives with her husband and their toddler in Wellington.
Previously, Jessica worked for a biomedical startup, commercialising some of her PhD and post-doctoral research work, and led clinical trials with teams as large as 145 people from diverse disciplines.
Jessica works remotely from Christchurch, where she enjoys exploring the Port Hills and the mountains with her young family.
After travelling through Asia and Australia, Marie and her husband arrived in New Zealand in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. They fell in love with Queenstown’s mountains and lakes, and have stayed put.
Due to the lack of science jobs in Queenstown, Marie began a career in business. She managed the QLDC swim school and gym, and eventually migrated into a business support and finance role. After five years with QLDC, she moved on to work at Trojan Holdings Ltd as the office manager of the finance team, until she went on maternity leave.
Marie is studying towards a chartered accounting qualification with ACCA.
Science & Research
Previously, Dave was a research scientist with the Geographic Information Science and Technology Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), America’s largest multi-program science and technology laboratory and home of the world’s fastest supercomputer. Working at the interface between raw satellite imagery and application-oriented end-users, Dave knows how to translate large volumes of complex data into actionable information at scale. In support of government and humanitarian agencies, he designed and led an innovative, state-of-the-art capability to reconstruct the topography of the Earth’s surface from multiple-view satellite imagery, using techniques similar to stereo vision. The resulting high-resolution elevation data are critical to applications ranging from emergency response to freshwater quality and critical infrastructure.
Dave received the PhD degree in Imaging Science from Rochester Institute of Technology, earning the Doctoral Dissertation of the Year award for his environmental monitoring research with NASA. His work has been featured in magazines such as National Geographic and The Smithsonian.
Active in public outreach, Duncan is the author of four books, and more than a thousand articles in newspapers and magazines published around the globe. He has also appeared in many TV documentaries, and radio interviews.
Minor planet 4713 Steel is named for him, as is a lunar-roving robot in one of Arthur C.Clarke’s novels.
As a senior research fellow at the University of Waikato, Moritz developed new methods for satellite-based monitoring of lake water quality and applied these to over 1400 New Zealand lakes. He has been with Xerra since September 2018 where his work includes operationalisation of satellite data products for the monitoring of aquatic environments and fundamental research on hard questions such as atmospheric correction.
Moritz lives in Raglan where he enjoys New Zealand’s perennial summer (compared with Canadian climes) practicing horsemanship and longboard surfing.
Andrew relocated back home to New Zealand in 2018 and currently works remotely from Queenstown, within easy access to the Southern Alps for snowboarding and cycling.
To follow his interest in applying algorithms beyond the academic arena, he undertook a position at OmniVision/CDM optics, where he led the research group developing computational imaging systems for cell phones, and represented the company in the International Imaging Industry Association. He then joined Harris Corporation, where he identified and developed innovative algorithms for calibrating and analysing satellite and airborne imagery. Here his passion for spatiotemporal analysis brought new capabilities for analysing landcover changes. His interest in precision agriculture led him to AGERpoint, where he developed LiDAR algorithms to analyse crop health, structure, and yield.
Robert has worked extensively with many remote sensing modalities and has a thorough understanding of their application, calibration, and phenomenology. His passion lies in translating remote sensing observations of the environment into actionable information.
While at NASA Joseph was part of a team developing algorithms for NASA Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System, helping to continue more than 30 years of Earth Radiation Budget measurements and producing data products used by researchers studying the Earth’s climate. His work at NASA included all aspects of satellite data processing, from the calibration of instruments, development of retrieval algorithms, validation of data products, and fusion of multiple data sources. It even involved a month of flying in C-130 over the Arctic Ocean. More recently, after returning to New Zealand, he worked as a Data Scientist at an electricity retailer, using machine learning and other techniques to extract information from data.
Prior to moving into the space industry, Rafael worked for many years as the COO at Ericsson, responsible for global telecommunication operations with the main focus on new services and products. He oversaw the daily global operations of product development units and systems integration services, created and executed a global strategy, and drove expansion into new markets and areas. In addition, he successfully drove acquisitions and mergers of several companies during that period.
Before being hired by Ericsson, Rafael worked at Accenture as a consultant responsible for technical sales support on governmental and commercial ICT systems. Rafael holds a degree in Telecommunications Engineering, as well as an MBA from UCL.
Prior to moving to New Zealand, Simeon worked in the IT division at Berkeley Lab in California, USA. His earlier career in South Africa started at universities in Pretoria and Cape Town, after which he joined the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) where he developed remote sensing software. He later led the engineering team at the CSIR that built the South African Research Network (SANReN).
Simeon enjoys working with technology that helps researchers turn their ideas into products and services that benefit society.
Justin has had forays in music score editing and image editing, and has a keen interest hillwalking, hiking and motorcycling. Justin and his wife live and work in Alexandra, where they own a property that is hiding beneath a covering of scrub, which they are slowly clearing to reveal rugged outcrops of Central Otago schist.
Before joining Xerra, Laszlo worked remotely as Principal Software Engineer at Oracle and Staff Engineer at Sun Microsystems. At Xerra, he builds and maintains the technology that powers our data analytics and machine learning that make up our products and services. Laszlo closely collaborates with our researchers and business stakeholders to understand their particular needs, then translates those into technical requirements to come up with the most effective and efficient solutions for architecting our technology.
Originally from Hungary, Laszlo lived in various places around the globe before settling in Dunedin, where he's lived for more than a decade. He's very active in the community, along with his family. On a nice day you might find him kayaking or sailing in the beautiful Otago harbour!
Simon expresses his creativity and his interest in science through cartography and data visualisation. He has contributed to, and individually produced, several cartographic products that have been presented nationally and at the International Cartographic Association (ICA) exhibitions.
Simon’s first career was as a chef, but he traded that in when he was inspired by an earthly palette as seen from the perspective of space. He’s based in Auckland in the prison cells of a historic police station, where he shares parenting duties of his neighbour's cat since she adopted him.
Tama started by building products for small NZ companies and ended up working with companies such as Kiwibank, NZ Red Cross & NZ Festival of the Arts. He served as Chief Technology Officer and Technical Director at several startups (like Springload) and as a software engineer before joining the team at Xerra. Excited to be working with our researchers, Tama shares the belief that there are limitless possibilities for turning data that’s being collected into products that have the potential to change the world.
Born in New Zealand, Tama has lived around the world, including the US, Canada and even the French Alps. He lives in Nelson with his partner and young son and spends a lot of time trekking and biking up and down whatever mountain he can find.